Reina P. Cunningham
For over a century of service to Bell County and surrounding areas, Three States Printing has been chosen as this week’s edition of Surviving the Hard Times.
The business began in 1912 when H.C. Chappel of Hazard decided he wanted to run a newspaper. Three States Printing was originally “Thousand Sticks.”
The company later became what it is today — a printing press company.
Chappel’s sons, Henry and Paul, ran the family business for some time before selling it Bob and Mildred Norton.
On May 30, 1966, the Nortons purchased the company. Bob had previously worked at the company in 1958.
The Norton family ran the business until September 30, 2008, when Penny and Frank Smith purchased it.
In addition to having several owners, the business has also called several locations home.
Originally, the business was located at 1817 Cumberland Avenue, the current home to Buttery’s Floor Coverings.
Next, the business was moved to 19th street before the Nortons decided to move to 12th Street where they owned property.
Later, when Nortons decided to lease the building to Goodwill, Three States Printing moved to its current location at 601 North 15th Street.
Although Penny and Frank purchased the profitable business as the economy started a downward spiral, they have worked hard to maintain status quo by trying to meet the ever-changing needs of their loyal customers.
As a result, last month the company decided it was time to further expand the business.
“As long as this place has been in business, for 100 years, you’ve got to diversify,” said Frank. “You’ve got to do more than just one thing.”
So the business now offers T-shirt printing and novelty items.
“We can do T-shirts, mouse pads, tiles, cups and novelty items,” explained Penny.
The company does not place limitations on their orders. No job is too big or too small, they said.
“We can do as few as one or as many as a thousand,” continued Penny.
Customers can make their own design or let Three States create a design for them.
In addition to dealing with a bad economy, the company recently dealt with losing a 20-year-old part of the business.
Last Christmas, the company’s work truck — a 1993 Nissan with a company trailer attached — was stolen from their parking lot. Neither the truck or trailer have been recovered.
The truck was purchased new and had been maintained by the company.
Three states printing can be reached at 606-248-1145, firstname.lastname@example.org or on their facebook page.
To nominate a long-standing locally owned business to be featured in Surviving the Hard Times, contact Reina Parker Cunningham at email@example.com or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 205.